Individual berry crisp baked in small ramekins has been my go-to berry crisp for years because it is easy to make and easy to serve. The to-die-for incredible big crumb topping will ruin you for other crisp toppings. It's truly our family's favorite berry crisp dessert recipe and can be made with frozen or fresh berries!
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I've loved berry crisp for as long as I can remember. Sweet and tart with a yummy crunchy topping.
And with a bit of vanilla ice cream slowly melting on it? Heavenly.
What I've never loved about it is serving it- there seems to be no way around the blob that ends up on the bowl or plate with some of the crispy topping underneath the berries, creating a soggy topping.
"Berry mush" just doesn't sound quite as good as "berry crisp" does it?
And if there are leftovers? Ugh.
Leftover berry crisp is not crisp and there's no amount of reheating that's going to bring it back to it's initial glory.
Enter the individual ramekin - what a revelation the first time I made berry crisp in these beauties!
Perfectly crisp, never too much juice covering all the delicious topping, and perfectly sized for each person resulting in NO leftovers.
Plus, when placed on a small plate, the humble berry crisp turns into something almost elegant to serve - a lot easier and prettier than a glob of stuff on a plate.
The other wonderful thing about making them individually (as if I haven't gone on and on about it already...) is that it is easy to make just the amount you need, even if that's only two or three - or even just one.
Individual Berry Crisp with Big Crumb Topping Recipe
- Measuring cups, medium bowl, wooden spoon
- Food processor (While you CAN mix the topping by hand with a pastry cutter, it's MUCH easier with a food processor to get the big clumps of topping we're looking for.)
- 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekins or other oven-safe containers (like pyrex), OR use an 8x8 baking pan
NOTE: While you don't NEED to use individual ramekins to make this amazing berry crisp, it won't quite be the same without them. You'll get a bit more soggy topping and the serving will be messier. But if you don't have anything small vessels to bake in, using an 8x8 pan is better than nothing!
Ingredients & Directions
Use fresh or frozen the berries for this recipe, which makes it easy to make all year around (yay!).
If using frozen berries, there's no need to defrost them - just pile them in a bowl.
Toss both fresh or frozen berries with some flour in a medium bowl and spoon into your baking ramekins or pan.
You can add a bit of brown sugar or honey if your berries are sour - I never do since the topping is sweet enough.
The amazing "big crumb" topping consists of:
- Brown sugar
- Whole oats
- Whole wheat pastry flour (use oat flour for a gluten free option)
Using a food processor to mix the topping ingredients is so easy and is actually the secret weapon for getting the best, clumpy crumb topping that doesn't melt into the berries while baking.
You want to process the topping until the dough forms into clumps in the processor and when you squeeze it.
IMPORTANT TOPPING TIP: Simply break off big pieces of the topping and place on the top of the berries in the ramekins, squeezing any smaller particles into clumps and pressing down slightly. Avoid sprinkling small pieces of topping - that will just make it dissolve into the berry juice, resulting in a soggy topping.
Pressing the dough into clumps and setting them on the berries is the way to get that crunchy, amazing topping we want.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is browning and you start to see the berry juice bubbling at the edges.
Serve with or without vanilla ice cream for a quintessential summer dessert you can enjoy all year.
And as you can see - no melted, soggy topping here!
MAKE AHEAD TIP: You can make up the crisps hours before serving and keep the uncooked crisp in the refrigerator, covered, on a cooking sheet. Set the cookie sheet with the ramekins in the oven to cook while you are eating dinner (they may need 1-2 minutes more baking time) and they will be warm and bubbling by the time you're ready for dessert.
Another option: Want this same type of big crumb topping with apples? Try this Apple Crumble Recipe that uses the same technique!
Individual Berry Crisp with Big Crumb Topping
- 6 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekins (adjust recipe for smaller or larger sizes)* OR 8x8 pan
- Food Processor
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds berries any type, frozen or fresh
- 1/3 cup brown sugar + more to mix with berries, if desired**
- 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour divided (see note for gluten-free option)
- 2/3 cup whole rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter chilled and cut into 8 tablespoons
- Heat oven to 375 degrees for baking immediately (if baking later - see note - make sure oven is preheated before baking).
- Mix the berries (no need to thaw if frozen) in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons flour and a bit of sugar or honey, if desired. Divide evenly between the ramekins.
- Place remaining flour, oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter pieces in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture starts holding together.
- Break off "pieces" of the topping and evenly cover the berries in the ramekins, pressing down as needed, but keeping most of the topping in clumps (don't break up and sprinkle little pieces).
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (adding about 5 minutes if starting with frozen berries), until the edges are bubbling and the topping is browned.
- Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.
More Easy Berry Desserts to Try
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in July of 2011.Disclosure: affiliate links in this article will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price. Click here to read our full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.